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Newark: Nottinghamshire County Council to close Southwell's Minster View children's home in significant U-turn

A children’s home is to be temporarily closed, it has been confirmed ­— just days after the county council issued an assurance it had no intention of shutting the facility.

The Advertiser was contacted by another resident after last week’s story in which concerns were raised about Minster View Children’s Home, Southwell, which cares for those with complex needs and learning disabilities.

There were concerns over youngsters being inappropriately transferred to different homes, causing distress, in what was described as a hush-hush closure programme.

Minster View children's home in Southwell. (43776258)
Minster View children's home in Southwell. (43776258)

They also claimed some staff had been suspended.

In a statement at the time, the council blamed coronavirus for staffing challenges, meaning it could not continue to operate to the very high standards of safe and effective care expected, with the same number of young people being supported.

It said: “Temporary changes (the moving of some children) have been put in place while that is fully addressed.”

It went on to stress there were no proposals to close Minster View.

On publication, the Advertiser was contacted by someone — who did not want to be named — to say it had been made clear that Minster View was temporarily closing due to poor practice and the need for staff training, and that all children would be moved by the end of January.

They said it was shocking of the council to suggest otherwise.

When contacted by the Advertiser, the council released what it described as its most up-to-date statement.

Service director for youth, families and social work at the council Steve Edwards said: “Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has resulted in significant staffing shortages. At one point 14 staff were off work at the same time as a consequence of having to self-isolate.

“This, together with an emerging picture that recent practice has not always been of the highest quality, resulted in an initial decision to temporarily reduce the number of children at Minster View. More recently, after careful consideration, a decision has been made to temporarily close Minster View.

“The decision to temporarily close Minster View has been made entirely in the best interests of the children. Parents and carers have all been informed and kept up-to-date.

“There are no proposals to permanently close Minster View or any other of the local authority’s children’s homes.”

The council apologised for confusion or upset caused by its initial statement.

It confirmed a small number of children remained at Minster View, but plans were in place to move them to temporary alternative placements in the near future.

Mr Edwards said: “As is standard practice, for reasons of confidentiality, we will not comment further publicly regarding individual children or individual staff, other than to reassure that public that all concerns about practice are taken seriously and that appropriate action has and will continue to be taken in the best interests of the children.

“We have worked in an open and transparent way with parents, carers, partner agencies and Ofsted, the regulator responsible for Minster View, and will continue to do so.

“Minster View remains registered with Ofsted, the regulatory authority. If members of the public have concerns and don’t feel confident in reporting issues to the council, I would encourage them to raise any issues directly with Ofsted. I am happy to discuss matters and provide reassurance to any parent or carer of a young person at Minster View.”

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